The local history society for the Leyton & Leytonstone area of east London

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The first person definitely known to have lived at Lea Hall was John Cookes at the end of the 17th century.  He was in the silk-weaving business and the father of his second wife, Sir William Russell, had rebuilt Park House on Leytonstone High Road (another building which was disappeared).  There was clearly money in Cookes’ family.  From 1714 Lea Hall was the home of Sir Robert Beachcroft, definitely a wealthy businessman, who was Lord Mayor of London 1710-1711.  Beachcroft died in 1721 and David reprints the list of the contents of Lea Hall which passed to his widow.  David also reprints the wording of memorials to Sir Robert Beachcroft in St Mary’s, Leyton, and the booklet has a colour reproduction of a portrait painting of Sir Robert which belongs to the Clothworkers livery company.

The next resident of Lea Hall was another rich Whig figure in City of London livery companies who was given a knighthood.  Sir Richard Hopkins extended the grounds of Lea Hall. He also has a grand memorial in St Mary’s, Leyton.  David lists subsequent residents of Lea Hall, but after the death of Sir Edward Bellamy in 1749 the house was let to one tenant after another and seems to have declined in value.  Lea Hall was purchased in 1821 by Joseph Hunton who was transferring his business activities to London from Great Yarmouth.  In 1828 Hunton was tried for fraud at the Old Bailey.  David reprints from the ‘Newgate Calendar’ a detailed account of this episode.  

The publication continues to describe the owners and tenants of Lea Hall.  In 1872 Dr Joseph Rufus Aldom, a Methodist, took over the building as a school and renamed it Cambridge House, presumably inspired by the university.  In 1878 Lea Hall became a home for Essex women suffering from mental illness.  At page 3 of the booklet is part of Stanford’s Library map of 1886 which shows Lea Hall on the south side of Capworth Street, almost opposite Suffolk House on the north side.  


Publications about Lea Hall and Moyer House

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